Bird’s Eye View of The Caldwell Green

Item ID-aerial001,folder1, box69
Item ID-aerial001,folder1, box69

Gene Collerd took this aerial photograph of Caldwell in the late 1940s as part of a comprehensive building survey commissioned by the Township. The arrow points to the Caldwell Green located in the center of town next to the Caldwell Public Library.  This picture was taken before the Community Center was built and before the expansion of the Fire Department

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The Decatur Cannon

Item ID-COLL4431, folder 1, box 5
Item ID-COLL4431, folder 1, box 5

In 1824 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the American Revolution,  President James Monroe invited Marquis de Lafayette, the only surviving general of the Revolution at that point, to visit the U.S. and go on an extended tour around the country.   To honor Lafayette when he visited Caldwell, the local militia brought out an old retired cannon the town had acquired.  The explosion from the salute they fired that day, destroyed the old cannon, but the Caldwell militiamen’s enthusiasm so impressed Colonel Decatur, one of the soldiers accompanying Lafayette, that he gave the town this bronze cannon his brother had captured from an Algerian fort a couple years before to replace the ruined one.  During the Civil War, this cannon was sent to Trenton because Caldwell had not voted for Lincoln and there was fear that it would be sent to the Confederacy.   After the war , it was returned to the Green where it stood until it was stolen in 1968.

“We played ball here.”

Item ID-COLL411, folder 1, box 5
Item ID-COLL411, folder 1, box 5
Item ID-COLL411a, folder 1,box 5

Young people used to play baseball on the Caldwell Green.  This postcard  depicting the Green with the original cannon in the foreground was sent  using a 1 cent stamp on September 3rd,  1907 from Newark to New Hampshire. “We played ball here and lost” G.W. Scholf [?] wrote to Miss Grace E Sargent.

3 Modes of Transport on Bloomfield Avenue

Item ID- 0783, folder D, box 84

This picture from the early 1940s looking across  Bloomfield Avenue toward the Green shows three modes of transportation: the 1939 Ford at left shares the road with a horse-drawn milk van from Becker’s Dairy in Roseland and the trolly, whose tracks are visible down the center of the road.  The large sign on the green is the WWII Caldwell Honor Roll.

The WWII Honor Roll

Item ID-0786, folder D, box84
Item ID-0786, folder D, box84

This Honor Roll stood on the Caldwell Green facing Bloomfield Avenue during WWII. It listed the name of everyone from town who was serving in the military.  Soldiers going into service would stop by here before boarding the bus to go the military station.  After they left, their names would be added to the board.

Memorial Day 1949

Item ID COLL 1774, folder 1, box 48
Item ID COLL 1774, folder 1, box 48

Parading on Bloomfield Avenue going east, past the Caldwell Green on Memorial Day, 1949. The Rev.Onderdonk of St. Peters Episcopal Church, Essex Fells is walking in front beside William Higgins, the last Spanish war veteran to serve as Marshall of the Memorial Day Parade.  This photograph was taken by George C. Brown, a New York Journal and freelance photographer who did work for The Progress prior to Gene Collerd.

The Park Theater Fire

Item ID-  COLL14521,folder2, box 8
Item ID- COLL14521,folder2, box 8

Many Caldwell residents gathered on the Green on July 14, 1974 to watch fire fighters battle the fire that destroyed the beloved Park Theater. The Park Theatre was a  movie theatre which showed films, cartoons and newsreels. It was built along the lines of a traditional movie palace, with a large first floor seating area and another large seating area on a balcony level.  Several shops occupied a central lobby area including a typical soda fountain/luncheonette. In later years, a typical outing  consisted of a triple play (meaning that the customer paid one price, usually $4.00 to see three feature length films at one sitting).  The last movies ever to run at the Park , visible on the marquee in this photograph, were Woody Allen’s  Sleeper, Bananas and What’s up Tiger Lily .

An online exhibit of photographs from the Caldwell Public Library's Gene Collerd Local History Collection

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